We’re aware that, sadly, lots of people have had holidays cancelled this year, particularly to Spanish regions. To ease your disappointment, why not welcome the Mediterranean in? Spanish tapas is a sociable, sumptuous style of dining that you can easily replicate at home!
Tapas isn’t the food itself. Rather, it refers to the style of serving. A tapa just means a small portion of food, so with that definition, anything can be served tapas style!
That said, we’re going to imbue a sense of authenticity to proceedings. The point of having tapas is to enjoying small portions that you share so you get to try lots of different things.
The origin of tapas comes from bars serving morsels that patrons could use to cover their drinks in order to keep flies out. In Spanish, the word tapas means ‘to cover’. People enjoyed these nibbles so much that they became an integral to the bar experience as the drinks.
Today, tapas include an enormous, exciting variety that come from three main categories: pinchos, cosas de picar and cazuelas. Pinchos are the tapas that are eaten with a toothpick, cosas de picar are pinched with the fingers and cazuelas are usually more elaborate: they may include several ingredients, be accompanied by a sauce and so on.
A Catalan (Barcelona region) speciality, pan con tomate is bread that has been toasted with olive oil and rubbed with chopped tomates and garlic, much like Italian bruschetta. Some Catalonians even enjoy this for breakfast!
Perhaps the most popular tapas, olives are both bitter and sweet and can really enrich a meal. Feeling fancy? Stuff the olives with bell peppers, small pieces of cheese or anchovy. Yum!
Simply put, these are meatballs in a sauce. This is a classic tapas dish but you can be really creative with your sauces – white wine and cream, tomato and basil, anything goes!
Jamon describes some of the cured hams you can have. Serrano and Iberico are the obvious choice here – they’re salty and because of the extensive marbling in the meat, they’re full of flavour. They work in perfect harmony with bread and cheese.
Potato croquettes were popular at family dinner time during the 1980s but they originate from tapas meals. They’re breadcrumbed potato, but this variance includes ham and leeks. Both crisp and fluffy, served warm they are a satisfying comfort food. Most tapas we’re suggesting just need to be assembled, but click here for a great ham croquetas recipe.
Our personal favourite, these chunks of fried potato are topped with a spicy tomato sauce and garlic aioli. They’re an instant party hit and are a great stomach-liner if you’re enjoying a few drinks. Click here to learn how to make them.
When it comes to Spanish cheeses, they’re made from either cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk or a blend. Unlike in Britain, cheeses made from cow’s milk are the least popular. Cheese types can also be categorised into fresco (fresh), semi-curado (part aged) and curado (aged).
You can use whatever cheese you like, but if you want to try and source some traditional tapas cheeses, we’d recommend these:
What is a meal without something to wash it all down with? If you’re a wine connoisseur, you might enjoy taking some time to identify some lovely pairings, but we’d strongly encourage going all in and enjoying some sangria!
Sangria is a popular Spanish cocktail made with wine, fruit, and sugar. It’s really versatile, too. It’s typically made with red wine, but for a summery feel, you can opt for white wine and mint and peaches. You can also use orange juice as a substitute for non-drinkers and children.
Don’t go to significant extra expense, but purchasing a picnic drinks dispenser will mean that people can help themselves and you can focus on the food.
The food is obviously the heart of any party, but if you’re putting in effort to serve some lovely dishes, it would be remiss to neglect the ambience!
Firstly, if it’s warm enough, eat outside! If you’re likely to be catching up well into the night, light lots of candles, or set up strings of fairy lights for a soft glow.
If you’re trying to beat grey clouds back, choose a vibrant colour scheme to run through your tableware, but also add to the festivities by adding some bright flowers, and maybe some bunting or streamers.
A long dinner table will allow for several dishes on the go at once, and you can enable your guests to pick at food by serving on platters – wooden ones give a rustic feel.
Whether your travel plans have been scuppered or you simply want to try something new, enjoy picking at some delicious foods with friends!
We have been working with Cleaner Care for a number of years now and we have always found then to be hardworking, reliable, efficient, trustworthy, approachable and honest. Starting off cleaning our offices, we now also employ CleanerCcare across our sites, providing a service to ensure our facilities are kept clean and safe at all times.
Their attention to detail when cleaning is excellent and this is of particular importance now given the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace.
Furthermore, Cleaner Care provide a builders and sparkle clean across many of our new build and refurbished properties. The end result is fantastic and it really makes a difference to those moving into the property. I would not hesitate to recommend Cleanercare for any cleaning services for which you are considering employing there services.
Group Managing Director
Cleaner Care has held the daily cleaning contract for our four purpose built office buildings for the last 10 years.
Denise and the team are reliable, approachable and provide a professional high standard of cleanliness.
The company always deals efficiently with additional one off cleaning requirements some at short notice in a flexible manner.
I have no hesitation in recommending Cleaner Care for any cleaning services.
"We have found their services very professional and the cleaning is to a high standard.
The Client Account Manager is always on hand to manage the cleaners wherever needed and also to ensure holiday and sickness is always covered.
We are pleased with the services offered and glad we appointed them."
"Cleaner Care have been doing the changeover cleans and deep cleans at our holiday cottage since 2017.
They are totally reliable and easy to work with. We have never had any complaints about the cleanliness of the cottage from guests.
The cleaning Team always leave the cottage looking beautiful and welcoming.
Cleaner Care have also arranged carpet cleans and the occasional odd job for us as we live away from the cottage and are not there to organise them ourselves."
"Cleaner Care have provided the School with a high quality cleaning service for many years. They are always on hand to help with School functions and events and provide a reliable and professional support function.
But much more than that...they are always extremely happy and willing to go that extra mile in caring for our staff and pupil's needs; they are part of the team."
"Cleaner Care Ltd have cleaned several of our premises for a number of years.
We have always found them to be reliable and helpful - always responding positively when asked to undertake extra work or attend to an emergency situation."
"Just to say a big thank you to all the staff who worked here over March. This was one of our busiest times ever with the various shows and large scale events. Your staff were professional and helpful and we could not have managed without them, they did an excellent job, sometimes under extreme circumstances."
"As a result of Covid-19 I had a property that became vacant suddenly and left in a poor state of cleanliness.
I contacted Cleaner Care who were really efficient in responding to my request, I was really impressed with their level of attention to detail and high standards.
In light of pandemic, Denise was able to organise a team who were from the same household to protect her workforce and myself.
The property was cleaned to an immaculate standard and it was also really helpful to have Cleaner Care organise a carpet cleaner too, saving me significant time.
I would absolutely recommend Cleaner Care to anyone who wants a reliable, high standard of cleaning."